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How do you count carbs? The important thing is that you count net carbs rather than total carbs. You will need to have somewhere to track your carb intake, as well as look up the number of carbs when nutrition labels are not available. CarbManager and MyFitnessPal are two apps our patients like, but feel free to use whatever works for you. Be careful to look at portion size when tracking carbs – not all sweet potatoes have the same number of carbohydrates. You’ll need to use a scale or measuring cups when cooking at home.
What are Net Carbs?
There are 3 types of carbohydrates: Sugars, Starches, and Fiber. While sugars and starches raise blood sugar levels, fiber slows down digestion, which helps keep blood sugar relatively stable. When looking at a nutrition label, you will see under Total Carbohydrates that Fiber and Sugars are broken out as separate lines. To quickly calculate net carbs for something that’s not in your tracking app, subtract the amount of Fiber from the Total Carbohydrates (not the total Sugars).
It’s pretty simple math, but it’s not something that’s included on the nutrition label, so you’ll need to calculate it. Many apps are already programmed to track this for you, just be sure whether you’re tracking net carbs or total carbs.
Here are some more examples of common foods and how they stack up on a low carb diet. Yams or sweet potatoes are often used as an example, but as you can see, the amount of fiber they contain is not enough to offset the amount of carbs, and they aren’t a great option for low carb diets. Avocados, on the other hand have a lot of fiber, meaning they’re a great choice.